BIM People – Orla Kelly, Architectural Technologist and BIM Coordinator at ArcDox


Orla Kelly is an Architectural Technologist and BIM Coordinator at ArcDox, Orla attended the Institute of Technology Carlow, graduating in 2013 with an honours degree in Architectural Technology.

Orla talked to about her work at ArcDox, BIM and architectural technology education in Ireland.

Since starting work at ArcDox in January 2014, Orla has gained further experience by working on BIM projects and has also been involved in providing BIM training and support to clients. Orla is a certified Revit Professional, and also is an Autodesk Training Centre Certified Trainer. Orla has a keen interest in BIM Implementation and Management.

Could you tell us about the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Architectural Technology at Institute of Technology Carlow, and how it prepared you for industry?

While I was studying architectural technology, my knowledge of Revit stemmed from Noel Dunne, our CAD lecturer. Introducing us to Revit, he saw the benefits of Revit over AutoCAD, this resulted in AutoCAD submissions being phased out entirely in college.

Please tell us how you got interested in BIM?

Having created Revit models in college, I was immediately impressed with having a corresponding and correct set of schedules and quantities that require little or no manual input. With Revit, the non-duplication of effort is the most prominent advantage.

When I started working at ArcDox, I was introduced to multidisciplinary projects, where all the models were created in Revit, with shared coordinates and then federated, where clashes and anomalies became apparent, as well as extraction of data from the models

Please tell us about ArcDox and the training programmes, consultancy and other services it provides?

BIMPeople-Orla-Kelly-ArcDoxArcDox provides various BIM training programmes, such as a strategic overview of BIM, an introduction to BIM Tools, and introduction to BIM Standards, and also BIM Management. Also, Revit Training is very popular, we have a Revit essentials 3-day course which can be geared towards Architectural, Structural or MEP. To get a complete knowledge of Revit, there is also a 2-day advanced families creation course. There is also demand for other software like Navisworks, for which we have a 3-day Navisworks course. We are always looking for new ways to make the BIM Process more streamlined, so this year we’ve included an Introduction to Dynamo Basics in our BIM Training Courses.

ArcDox also offers a consultancy service where we provide advice to clients on BIM Implementation, documentation of a project, and on the information process.

Another Service ArcDox offers is Support, whether it be in the client’s office, or by screen-sharing or Web conferencing also. We support clients in establishing and maintaining standards and ensure that the client is getting the most out of BIM. 

Could you tell us about your work with ArcDox?

A large part of my work with ArcDox is carrying out BIM training, of which I and everyone else who conducts training at ArcDox are certified ATC (Autodesk Training Centre) trainers. Working with ArcDox also entails supporting people throughout the BIM Process, a lot of clients are daunted at the idea of starting a project using BIM; so when working with a company they are provided with BIM Implementation Advice, drafting protocols, information requirements, execution plans or project specifications helping to manage the information process.​ I also work in production where Revit Models are produced, usually converting AutoCAD to a BIM Model, or in recent years, conversion of Laser Scan points clouds to BIM has become popular. What is very important when working at ArcDox, is continuous development, to make time to research new technologies or software that will be beneficial. We are all members of the Irish Revit Users Group and have presented at Revit User Group meetings. Attending meetings and conferences is also encouraged at ArcDox, and this year we attended the Revit Technology Conference in Budapest.

Are you satisfied with the quality of BIM education and research in Ireland?

It seems the institutes of technology in Ireland have incorporated BIM training into their syllabus. Some lecturers around the country had the foresight that BIM would be a pioneering process in construction. Certain universities in Ireland are showing interest in BIM Implementation also. Since there are over 150,000 people working in construction in Ireland, there will have to be a surge of upskilling when it comes to BIM, whether it be third level courses or workplace training.

Will BIM affect the duties and responsibilities of the professions?

Yes, but I can only see it being advantageous if they are willing to change. If attitudes were adapted to facilitate 3D data-rich object based modelling instead of 2D drafting. People may be reluctant when it comes to learning the software associated with BIM, but knowledge of the standards and documentation is just as important as learning the associated software.

Was there a growing interest in BIM training in Ireland over the past year?

Yes, indeed, a lot of people we train at ArcDox have heard about BIM training from previous attendees, or hear about ArcDox training from various publications or events.

People are really starting to see the advantages of BIM over other processes, in the past few years companies have hired us to carry out training in their businesses, throughout multiple disciplines. This year with the UK Government imposing a mandate for centrally procured public sector projects to be in accordance with Level 2 BIM, from April 4th, news of this has filtered to Ireland. I can imagine Irish companies are trying to get a head start if, one day the Irish Government decides to follow suit and impose its own BIM mandate, or just out of seeing the benefits of the BIM Process themselves.

How do you see BIM changing the role of the Architectural Technologist?

People may see a lot of the responsibility of BIM falling on Architectural Technologists, but it’s important that a whole team has a grasp of BIM. BIM is changing the industry from drawing, or paper-driven processes, to digital or data-driven processes, and so the role of the architectural technologist is also changing from drawing production, co-ordination and management, to data, or information production, coordination and management. Buildings are getting more and more complex. The regulations, analysis and building methods are also getting more complex. Technology is there to help, but the software and the process are also getting more complex. But knowing how to use software is not enough. To coordinate the design information of a building, you need to know how buildings are constructed, or put together, and how they operate (from a technical performance point of view). So the role of the Architectural Technologist remains as important as it always was, to bring this technical expertise to the process.

Are there any changes and improvements you would like to see made to architectural technology education in Ireland?

I would like to see BIM being a standard subject in architectural technology, and not just for modelling, but introducing students to standards and documentation I know myself from transitioning from AutoCAD to Revit, the more familiar you are with software, the harder it is to make the changeover, however, if someone told me when I was in college that there was a software that would dramatically cut down on the time spent creating drawings or schedules, I would have been keen to adapt.

As a professional with expertise in technology, how do you see the Irish construction industry changing in the next decade?

Hopefully, in the next few years, people working in the construction industry will see the benefits of upskilling in BIM processes. I would hope that the Irish Government will formulate its own BIM mandate, similar to the one in the UK. As I like the idea of before anything has started in a project, that there is a constant standard that has to be abided to. Also, that people can appreciate the technical significance of BIM Coordination and Implementation when it comes to a career in construction. In the next few years, it would be great to see more women considering careers in construction also.

Follow Orla on Twitter: @Orla_Arcdox

Follow ArcDox on Twitter: @Arcdox

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